Hermann's Life In The Wilderness
Howdy folks and greetings from the Great Plains of North Texas!
We're in a series about the Wild West and the incredible story of an 11 year old German boy, Hermann, who was captured by an Apache war party from his family's farm in 1870 in Central Texas.
He's now 16 years old at this point in the story and has become a full blown warrior who hates and fears the White man. And in fact, has taken many a scalp.
In the last post Hermann was living in a hidden canyon with a stream and plenty of game to eat but was forced to ride away from there when a raiding party of his old tribe stopped to camp for the night.
Herman rode for several days to make sure no one was following him.
Occasionally he would see white men or Mexicans but since he would be seen as an Apache he avoided contact with all people because he considered the Apache to be enemies to all.
Well that makes sense because for years they killed or stole from anyone they saw because they saw everyone as enemies of THEM.
He crossed several streams and would always spend some time at them, making sure to water his horse first.
He had also learned to make shampoo for his hair by taking Bear Grass(scientific name of Xerophyllum tenax)which looks like this:
...and Love Vine(Cassytha filiformis) which looks like this:
and he would boil them until they became an "ooze" and wash his hair with it which he said was very long, straight and beautiful. lol.
He kept on the move since he hadn't found another secret, hidden place to stay.
When Hermann started out he had 30 cartridges for his Winchester rifle. Here's a photo of an original 1873 model Winchester lever action for those non-gun readers who don't know their weaponry. lol.
This particular rifle was owned by an Indian as evidenced by the decorations on the stock. Who knows, maybe this is the one Hermann used?
I have a modern lever action which is very similar. Great guns, very dependable.
He stretched those bullets out as long as he could but eventually ran out, each shot bringing down an antelope, deer or buffalo for food.
When he finally ran out of bullets he stashed the rifle in a cave in Northern Mexico and when he wrote his book he said maybe it was still there because he never went back for it. It's possible.
This really surprised me. I thought he would hang on to his rifle, being the most prized possession of a warrior, until he came across bullets for it. I don't understand his thinking here.
He still had his trusty bow and arrows though and he was a skilled archer.
In an area of vast desert they was forced to go for days without food or water. He was surviving on cactus and the sap from the Prickly Pear cactus.
He didn't say whether his horse was able to get any of that sap or not, I assume so.
Skunk never tasted so good
After 7 days he was ready to give up and die because he was so weak and exhausted, but this is Hermann we're talking about! He finally saw food. It was a skunk and he was able to kill and eat it.
He was so starved that he ate every bit of it and he also found a muddy water puddle.
Muddy water never tasted so good neither!
He had learned from the Indians early on to use grass as a filter so he covered the water with a thick layer of grass and drank the water and had his horse drink in the same way because the puddle was really stagnant and nasty.
But it was life-giving. His trusty horse and him rested up, drank lots of muddy water and regained their strength plus there was some grass for his horse to eat.
Hermann's story continues in the next post.
Thanks for reading folks, God bless you all!
the gentleman redneck